This is by far my favorite ice cream I’ve made thus far. Much props to the Sweet Cream & Sugar Cones cookbook. I’m fortunate enough to have a Whole Foods in town with a bulk spices area, so I can buy these spices in small amounts. But if you’re interested in certain Asian foods or having chai spiced drinks in the fall, these spices are good to have around.
Chai-Spiced Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
- 15 whole black peppercorns
- 10 whole cloves
- 7 green cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk (they recommend 1 or 2%, I use whole milk because that’s what I keep at home)
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 6 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped (about 1 ¼ cups)
- Combine the peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise in a medium pan and put the pan over medium-high heat. Toast, stirring frequently, until the spices are aromatic, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the cream, milk, sugar, and salt. When the mixture just begins to bubble around the edges, remove from the heat and cover the pan. Let steep for about 30 minutes, or until the cream has taken on a distinct chailike flavor. (Stir it occasionally and taste it to monitor the progress.)
- In a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the yolks just to break them up and set aside. Put the chopped chocolate in another medium heat-proof bowl, and set that aside as well.
- Put the pan of infused cream over medium-high heat. When the mixture approaches a bare simmer, reduce the heat to medium.
- Carefully scoop out about ½ a cup of the hot cream mixture, and, whisking eggs constantly, add the cream to the bowl with the egg yolks. Repeat, adding another ½ cup of the hot cream to the bowl with the yolks. Using a heat-proof spatula, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowly pour the egg-and-cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.
- Cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened, coats the back of a spatula, and holds a clear path when you run your finger across the spatula, 1-2 minutes longer.
- Pour the hot cream mixture into the bowl of chopped chocolate, wash your whisk, and whisk until smooth.
- Strain the base through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container. Set the container into an ice water bath, wash your spatula, and use it to stir the base occasionally until it is cool. Remove the container from its ice water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate base for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions (ours is about 20 minutes). While the ice cream is churning, put the container you’ll use to store the ice cream in the freezer. Enjoy right away, or for a firmer ice cream, transfer to the chilled container and freeze for at least 4 hours.